JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Operation Shoestring in Jackson joined more than 8,000 communities and 1,000,000 Americans in celebrating afterschool programs for this year’s Lights On Afterschool.

This nationwide annual event, organized by the Afterschool Alliance, calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs and the resources required to keep the lights on and the doors open.

“This is to highlight the importance of afterschool programming. A lot of times when it comes to afterschool, a lot of people may consider if it’s beneficial and if the kids are actually learning, and the answer is they are learning during that time. With our program, we do help with homework assistance, provide an intervention with certified teachers, and tutor our students to make sure we are closing the gap while they are here,” explained Lakesha Partee, Program Coordinator for Operation Shoestring.

To mark this important day, Gov. Tate Reeves issued a proclamation declaring October 20th as “Lights on Afterschool Day.”

“This gives you an opportunity to think outside the box where our activities can be hands-on and engaging to where the students are learning as well. The other great thing about afterschool program is that it gives you opportunities to target different issues that are related to the whole child. I’m not only just focusing on academic growth but also their development growth as far as mental and social well-being, as well. I can be child-centered as much as I want while working after school hours,” stated Partee.

This event will take place at 3:30 and features a tour of Operation Shoestring’s afterschool program Project Rise.